Gift Benefits Behavioral Health Services
The Woburn-based Cummings Foundation is giving $1 million to Lahey Health over the next three years to facilitate access to behavioral health care in community settings.
“This generous gift will enable us to more than double the number of clinicians embedded in primary care practices throughout the Lahey Health network, expand our Student Assistance Program and offer care to thousands more people in the communities we serve,” said Hilary Jacobs, President, Lahey Health Behavioral Services (LHBS).
With the Cummings Foundation grant, Lahey Health will be able to add behavioral health clinicians to six primary care practices, bringing the total to 17 locations. This will reduce the stigma around mental illness and make it easier to access care.
Destigmatizing mental health treatment
“We’ve made a lot of progress fighting the stigma attached to mental illness, but many patients still worry about being judged for needing help,” said Patrick Aquino, MD, chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Lahey Health.
“Some patients are more comfortable seeking care in a place where they receive their routine care,” he added. “They already have a relationship with their primary care provider, so it’s easier for them to open up about any behavioral health challenges they may be having in that primary care setting.”
The Cummings grant will also support the Student Assistance Program, a school-based program operated by LHBS in four public schools in Beverly, Ipswich, Gloucester and Danvers. Mental health counselors from LHBS are embedded in each partner school, where they provide counseling and other services to students who experience academic, social or behavioral challenges.
The foundation will give $150,000 to each program annually for the next three years, and about $33,000 a year to support Lahey Health fundraising initiatives such as the Lahey Health 5K Cancer Walk & Run.
“We are proud to support Lahey Health’s efforts to improve access to behavioral health services in our local communities,” said Joel Swets, Executive Director of Cummings Foundation. “It is our mission to support the organizations that are vital to the communities in which our colleagues and clients work and live.”
Joyce and Bill Cummings established the Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc., in 1986 and it is now one of the largest private foundations in New England. Nearly all of the buildings managed by Cummings Properties are owned by and operated for the sole benefit of Cummings Foundation. The foundation’s giving is focused in Middlesex, Essex and Suffolk counties and benefits a broad range of causes, including human services, education, health care and social justice.